Jack Lester said his side ‘looked after’ the Chesterfield badge on Saturday but they did much more than that.
In recent weeks the Spireites have begun to restore pride in that badge and reconnect supporters with it.
Football is a results business and it was going to take results to put some distance between the fans and the shame of their recent woes.
A run of five games unbeaten in League Two was capped nicely by the performance in the 2-2 draw at Field Mill.
It was a display to be proud of, particularly after the break when Town had the freedom of Nottinghamshire in possession.
A Stags supporter has opined that Chesterfield, 2-1 up with three minutes to play, will never have a better chance to beat their bitter rivals.
Is it not just as easy to argue that Mansfield have never had a better chance to end their 23-year winless run at home to the Spireites, given their expenditure, the magnificent form they’re in and the huge gulf between the sides in the league table?
Not so long ago, the Stags would have been licking their lips at the prospect of facing a Chesterfield side bereft of confidence and Town fans would rightly have been worried about a derby day demolition.
Yet they were more than a match for the hosts and played them off the park for large spells in the second half. Those in yellow singing ‘going down’ can’t really have believed those words. Not on the evidence before them.
For Town supporters who have suffered embarrassing national headlines, endured a miserable relegation and had to fear a ‘double drop’ it was a better day.
From tee to green, Lester got the derby spot on – but had to settle for par after his birdie putt lipped out.
In his approach the boss said everything a Town fan would want to hear, he acknowledged their presence before the game in a show of mutual devotion, fronted up to Steve Evans’ touchline antics and threw enough subtle digs in his post-match interviews to prove he gets it, the fixture and the rivalry.
The tactics weren’t bad either, Town playing stylish stuff that even drew praise from the other side of the M1.
As much as Lester gets credit, his players deserve recognition for their bravery on the ball in the heat of battle.
There’s a long way to go before every Spireite is ready to kiss and make up with the badge, but on Saturday Lester’s Chesterfield drew them a step closer with their most significant outing yet.